Marty Moe, vice president and general manager of AOL Money & Finance, Small Business, and Education, oversees the BloggingStocks.com web site that recently underwent a redesign.
He talked with Talking Biz News about the changes via e-mail. What follows is an edited transcript.
1. What prompted the redesign?
After more than a year of running BloggingStocks, we wanted to refresh the design and add new elements to the page. A major goal was to have a way to feature the best posts more prominently on the page so that we could create a more dynamic and engaging experience for users. We also wanted to add a new search toolbar that is on all AOL pages now.
2. How long did it take to implement?
We have a very talented team here. We worked on the design for a few months, but implementation was speedy — just a few days of intense work on the part of a team of AOL and Weblogs, Inc designers, producers, developers and editors.
3. What are the major features of the redesign?
We now can highlight some of our best posts in “Features” and “In the news” areas on the top left and have a big space to promote video, which is a new item we plan to implement and include on the site. A new horizontal navigation gives BloggingStocks readers an easier way to find posts about a specific company they follow or just hunt for posts about stock picks, for example.
We’ve also added breaking news headlines from AOL Money & Finance news, and our sister blog, BloggingBuyouts.com -which was another blog we recently launched to cover private equity.
We have a new ‘tag cloud’ so readers can scan the topics we’re posting on at any one time.
4. What has traffic been like in the past year?
Traffic has grown steadily. According to Media Metrix, we are now theÂ No. 1Â independent financial blog on the Web.Â
More important is the way the content had grown.Â We started off with eight stocks, and were going to add another eight each month in various sectors. However, we listened to our audience and our bloggers and expanded the site to feature all major stock news of the day and cover over 350 individual stocks.
We also decided that we should add another entire blog that is devoted to private equity.Â The sister blog launched in the spring and has been on the forefront of covering PE news of the day.
5. One of the editors of the site told me recently that it’s looking for more writers. Is this to expand stock coverage?
We’re always looking for more finance writers. Any of your readers who want to apply (we do pay our bloggers a modest amount per post), can contact our editor Amey Stone at firstname.lastname@example.org. We feature and focus onoriginal blog content, unlike some finance blog networks that just aggregate the posts of other bloggers, so we don’t typically re-run posts that appear elsewhere.
6. Have there been any other major changes in the site in the past year?
The biggest change is that we continue to cover more companies and a broader range of topics. We now cover more than 350 companies and plan to add more. We put out between 50 and 60 posts each day. Our content is also syndicated to many other financial sites, including CNNMoney, SmartMoney and TheStreet.com.
7. How do you think the site stacks up against other stock-oriented sites such as Motley Fool and TheStreet.com?
In terms of what we cover, we are similar. But BloggingStocks is still a blog first and foremost so we offer a lot of opinion, some of it with a sharper edge than you might see on mainstream financial sites. We tend to write with more personality, flair and humor than mainstream sites.
I think we offer a site that is just as informative as some of our competitors, but a lot more fun to read. The site also provides an environment that provides an easy opportunity to comment on posts and become engaged in an ongoing dialogue with other readers or even the author.Â